Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Simple Life, Laundry Days: Hand-washing in the Falaj

I hand-wash a lot. I can also balance one of those big plastic tubs on my head. I suit the village life, in so many ways, except for socially I suppose. Sigh....Still, I love my front-loading fully-automatic washing machine. Which is why I have time to blog and am not still doing laundry today I suppose ;).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

MY POEMS: The Lady Who Climbs the Cherry Tree

THE LADY WHO CLIMBS THE CHERRY TREE

I am the lady who climbs the cherry tree
Like a child to scrape a knee,
And breaks a bow or two or three
And braids them well. One wreath for me
Somber and dark of face, I carry
Hence, bearing forth my grief to the sea---
Where loose blossoms with ashes we loose into the lee.

What words could come, what words were planned
Fly well and out and past my hand
With the wreath I toss past the soggy slope of sand,
And all are sucked out to sea, beyond the narrow strand.
There tall red sails draw the eye, burning like a brand,
And a sure light on the horizon mocks the silver shore of land.

This is all dulled by our grief. Expected were words still grand,
And I have not yet control to cry or speak. Few will understand.
So instead, to the rocks I bow my head to heaven and I pray
While condolences most kind, against my eardrums, bray
And every commendation of him, seems to flay
My throat to shreds, and turns my mouth to clay.
“From the path or righteousness, let me not stray”
I mutter while on that shore they leave me splay
Myself to my creator, who my companions all seek to pay
A moment of recollection, or to understand upon this day,
When one wonders why each man walks his way
And why this good man’s path led him early to this narrow bay
And out of it, furled in burning sails, in a cloud of grey,
Trailed by a stream of petals.“Mortals all, who can say?”
Call me shameful Muslimeen, for I let them, this line say.
For all thoughts in my mouth are hay
And should I speak the truth plainly now, I’d neigh---
Not justify all that heaven may.
Then I stand, and some men seem fearful of my lay
Which is never sung. And the cold and rains begin to weigh
And those who’d come, their respects to pay
Would go away, but in respect they seek for this, my yea.
And so I nod, and with a crown of  sand upon my brow, still seem fey
To the fisher folk who stand upon the village quay,
Despite the headscarf and thin dark Arab robe I wear in May.
And I am ushered into a dark car, and away.

The rains slide down the windows, and the heaters blow,
And my family speaks of all the places that human spirits go...
And I am just the lady who climbed the cherry tree to make a bow,
Of branches. Like my grief, and the wreath, I simply watch the water flow,
And my words come back again in faith, and there, contented, grow.
Thus do I tell myself, I am content with what I know.
And what I know not?: Let the most Merciful, and the Most Just bestow.

Arabian Princess: My fave is Lalla Salma of Morocco

My favourite Arabian Princess is....Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco. Not for her policies, her charity work, the scope of her intelligence, her Islamic practice or anything else important really...

...But because she looks how a princess should look...at least to me.

The first time I saw Princess Lalla Salma I thought, that woman looks like a Princess. She was dressed as pictured above. I was smitten. Who was this beautiful, fairy-tale woman come to life? I wondered. She was like a pre-Raphaelite painting, but with an impish, human smile.

Turns out, she is Royalty, so yeah, that's probably why she looks like a Princess.The Moroccan national dress of "takchita" totally helps the whole royal image as well. You can't get more princess-ey than takchita really.
But really, it is the hair. Long, red, curly hair.
Plus, they often seat her next to her ultra-glamorous bestie Sheikha Moza who she shares a lot of charity work with, so like, the glam factor goes way up. And I love how the two women are polar opposites when it comes to fashion. For formal events Lalla Salma is very traditional while Moza is high-fashion. For normal day-to-day Salma does more casual, but designer fashion, and Moza is more traditional, in abaya or caftan-like ensembles or  long skirt suits for such.
Admittedly, Lalla Salma's non-caftan style is rather unremarkable unless she is wearing head-to-toe red. If not for her natural beauty and that hair, you could even call it ordinary. Safe. Classic. A little old-fashioned even, or dated. And yet...there is still something a little magical about her.
And yet, still when I see her I think to myself, she looks like a princess. And then she puts on a caftan and can stand next to a Queen like Let. of Spain, or Rania of Jordan, and make me feel sorry for them, that they don't get to be real princesses, just the modern equivalent. Which is simply not as enchanting.
So when it comes to Arabian Princesses, she is the Princess of the Princesses, because she looks like a Fairy-tale.